Château de France

The only way to really understand a wine region is to visit it, and to spend some time exploring, on foot, by bicycle or by car, getting to grips with its boundaries and its characteristics. You need to arrange some visits of course, because wine isn’t a spectator sport; you are going to come away feeling unfulfilled if you haven’t checked out some vines, felt the sand, clay, flint or limestone soils in your hands, and then tasted the corresponding wine.

By exploring in this manner you may discover new and unanticipated delights, or understand something no wine critic or wine writer has ever managed to communicate. Take, for example, the Pessac-Léognan appellation; it is tempting to think that this only boasts a dozen-or-so châteaux, namely those made famous by their ranking in the Graves Classification. But the truth is, in fact, very different. Take a drive around the communes of Pessac, Cadaujac, Martillac, Villenave d’Ornon or any of the other communes eligible for the Pessac-Léognan appellation and you will soon realise just how much you don’t know about this particular corner of Bordeaux, as you pass one unfamiliar château after another, each one proudly boasting their allegiance to this prestigious appellation.

Château de France

Indeed, there are dozens of unsung and unappreciated châteaux here, seemingly hidden from view by being outside the region’s 1959 classification. One such less well-known name is Château de France, which sits in plain sight off the main road which runs south out of Léognan. The château and vineyards sit just behind those of Château de Fieuzal. Although it fell into dereliction during the 20th century it has been rescued by the Thomassin family, and these days it makes wines which are once again worthy of our attention.

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